Book 4 of The River: The Mainstream
by Lewis MacAdams
she displayed all the signs:
her lashes went on forever.
When the flood tossed the carp
up on the river bank,
she guided it back into the water
with her hands.
When the hawk swooped past us in the parking lot
she noted that
“hawks seem to follow you around.”
I don’t know if this is politically correct or not, but
when she curled her bare toes
around the lip of the concrete
it drove me wild.
The last time I saw her she told me
I was unknowable; and
then the phone calls stopped
followed swiftly by the cessation of E – mails,
more silence, and
the water dripping off the elderberry
in the rain.
Spray paint can in a hurry to get to the ocean,
a basketball bouncing in the chocolate foam.
Ankle – deep floodwaters wash across the new bike path
where it curves
around the base
of Merrill Butler’s beautiful
bridge at Fletcher Drive.
“What is a white pelican doing there ?” I wondered,
standing on the levee by itself,
staring at the rushing river ?
I thought it might be wounded
so I approached carefully,
but it suddenly flapped away,
towards the sea and safety and sanity.
“THINK signs will never give way to DREAM signs” Gregory Corso writes in
his poem, “Power.” Whereas John Tottenham muses bitterly that “My life is a
raging river of regrets flowing into a sea of shame.”
Does the river
mean anything more to me
than money ?
How many evenings
have I slumped dead tired in the driver’s seat of my Prius
backed into a narrow parking place
gathering my strength
and my strategies
to make it up the ramp
past the roaches and the rats
and the shuffling zombies
to my sky – cave ?
Did they once eke out a living
shining people’s shoes or
carrying their luggage
before surrendering to
diabetes and crack and the
filthy final wheelchair, still wearing
a shirt with the word SECURITY
sewn on the back
even though there is none anywhere.